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Always was, always will be.

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Shelley Lasica



The work of Shelley Lasica reveals a sustained exploration of dance, movement and the varying contexts in which they can occur. WHEN I AM NOT THERE provides an important occasion to reflect on forty years of Lasica’s choreographic practice and is the first project of its kind in Australia.

WHEN I AM NOT THERE features a mise-en-scène comprising new and existing elements, including contributions from the artist’s long-term collaborators and a new ensemble commissioned for the occasion and performed live for the duration of the gallery’s opening hours.

The 2021 recipient of an Australia Council Dance Fellowship, Lasica has developed this new work with a team of ten other artists, including LJ Connolly-Hiatt, Luke Fryer, Timothy Harvey, Rebecca Jensen, Megan Payne, Lisa Radford, Lana Šprajcer, Oliver Savariego, François Tétaz and Colby Vexler.

The performance-exhibition presents components from Lasica’s archive of earlier works, including costuming, objects, soundscapes and text. Consolidating ideas and experiments that Lasica has been developing throughout her career, WHEN I AM NOT THERE contributes to discussions around choreography in the gallery space and activates the tension between what it means ‘to perform’ and ‘to exhibit’.

WHEN I AM NOT THERE is accompanied by a substantial monograph featuring new writing from Erin Brannigan, Justin Clemens, Claudia La Rocco, Robyn McKenzie and Zoe Theodore. Positioning Lasica’s oeuvre within Australian contemporary practice as well as international contexts, it is the first monograph published on an Australian choreographer and includes a comprehensive account of her performance and exhibition history alongside extensive documentation drawn from her archive. 

About the Artist

Shelley Lasica is based in Naarm/Melbourne and has been working nationally and internationally for over four decades. Her practice has consistently engaged with the contexts and situations of presenting dance, choreography and performance. Interested in the collective and interdisciplinary possibilities of choreography, Lasica performs her solo and ensemble works in dialogue with designers, writers and visual artists. Lasica’s choreographic works have been shown within visual art, theatre and festival contexts. These include the Melbourne Festival, National Gallery of Victoria, Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Artspace Sydney, Centre nationale de la danse, Paris and Siobhan Davies Studios, London. 

Performers: Luke Fryer, LJ Connolly-Hiatt, Timothy Harvey, Rebecca Jensen, Shelley Lasica, Megan Payne, Oliver Saraviego and Lana Špracjer
Creative Producer: Zoe Theodore
Producer: Phoebe Kelly
Consultants: Lisa Radford and Colby Vexler
Sound Score: François Tétaz
Contributing Artists: Kara Baker, Tony Clark, Belinda Hellier, Martin Grant, Robyn McKenzie, Roger Wood, Anne-Marie May, Callum Morton, Richard Nylon,  Shio Otani, Fiona Scanlan, Jacquie Shelton and Kathy Temin 
Commission curator: Hannah Mathews 



Supported by PICA’s Director’s Circle.

Shelley Lasica: WHEN I AM NOT THERE is co-commissioned by Monash University Museum of Art, Melbourne, and the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney, supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council and the Art Gallery of New South Wales support partner Atelier.


Black logo on white background. On the left is Monash University with its coat of arms. On the right are the capital letters MUMA with a white line running through the horizontal middle axis.
Artists announced for The National 4: Australian Art Now ...


WHEN I AM NOT THERE is realised as part of Precarious Movements: Choreography and the Museum, an ARC research project that involves the following partners: the Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney; MUMA, Melbourne; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne; Perth Institute of Contemporary Arts; Tate, UK; and UNSW Sydney. It provides this overarching project with critical and situated research focused on the curation and practice of choreography in the museum environment.